No matter how competent you are and how enjoyable your job is, there will inevitably be times when you want to reach out for some support. Whether you want to get some help with planning and preparation, or maybe workload is getting you down, or behaviour issues are driving you crazy, or the sheer exhaustion of the working week is making it hard to create any sense of balance in your life, whatever you’re feeling is normal. Teaching is a tough job and can be emotionally and physically challenging, but there is plenty of support out there should you ever need it.
Sources of support are varied but try these for starters:
We’ve got plenty of articles on our blog that have been written to offer a helping hand to teachers, both new and experienced. It’s also worth visiting our Staffroom where you can have access to detailed career advice and teaching resources.
You may have a senior colleague in school who will be a great source of local help. There may also be other teachers you can speak to and share experiences with. It’s important to talk about issues as and when they arise so don’t ever feel that you have to keep things to yourself.
Your local authority
If your school falls under the care of a local authority, there may be someone there who can offer help and guidance. Get in touch to find out what support is available. There may also be courses and professional learning sessions that you can join in with.
All the major unions have extensive support and guidance for NQTs. Get in touch sooner rather than later so that any potential problems can be sorted out. There may be some professional learning courses that you can attend to help with issues such as wellbeing and time management.
Education Support Partnership
They run a free and confidential helpline with skilled listeners able to help with any issues whether personal or professional. This is a great source of support if you want to speak to someone who doesn’t know you. You can call 08000 562 561 or text 07909 341229. There’s also a chat function on the website.
Fellow trainees from your course
If you’re a recent NQT, it’s worth keeping in touch with the people you trained with; they will almost certainly be good sources of moral support. Stay in touch if you can.
Local teacher networks
Find out from your school or local authority whether there is a local network for teachers, particularly NQTs. This can be a great way of talking to others outside your immediate environment, which helps you to see different perspectives and gain wider experience as well as help and support.
Online social networking
There are plenty of teachers and trainees on twitter (or rather, edutwitter) who can be a source of assistance in times of need. Spend a little time following people and organisations that look interesting and see where that leads you. Education debate on twitter can get very heated but you’ll soon work out what inspires you. Facebook, too, has various groups for teachers that may be of interest.
Your family and friends
When life gets extremely busy, it’s easy to forget the people we used to love spending time with and the things we enjoyed doing. Make a special effort to stay in touch with family and friends and they will help you to retain a positive perspective if problems arise. It really does seem that people who talk to those close to them about worries and concerns suffer less from stresses. That’s worth keeping in mind.
If you think that your work may be adversely affecting your physical or mental health, don’t be afraid to talk to your local GP. Negative stress can take its toll so get talking sooner rather than later.
Reaching out for support when you are struggling or in need of some expert guidance, or simply want to get in touch with other teachers in similar circumstances, is a sign of strength more than anything else. You never have to cope alone. There is always help should you need it to get back on top and enjoying your great career once again.